The move of the library is now fully accomplished and we have been at rest in the new building for about two weeks. The move was so all-consuming in the logistics and effort required to pull it off that we haven’t been able to post here to keep everyone updated on the progress. Now that we have a little space to breathe, it’s time to catch up, reflect on the events that got us here, and look forward to the work to come. Watch this space for frequent updates and musings on the activity at the library, the transformation it is going through, and its role in the life of the Society through research, study, and community.
On Tuesday January 8th, after three months of planning and preparation, we began to roar forward with the library move by building shelving in our new location at 139 Main Street in Philmont, NY. We had a number of facilities-related delays that pushed back our move from December and quite a complex logistical dance to perform. Yet in reflection, everything happened for a reason and just as needed. The story of this move will likely take several postings to tell, which we will weave together through series of updates, stories, video, and photos of about the move and the new space..
Preparing the collection to move has took weeks of intensive activity by Judith Kiely, the Society’s Interim Librarian, and Seth Jordan, our Transition Manager. On December 1st, the library suspended lending services so that the move team could focus on the great task of preparing the collection to leave its home of thirty years. Hundreds of linear feet worth of loose journals and papers needed to be boxed, closets of archives and materials needed to be organized, books needed to be reordered and straightened, and the general accumulation of three decades of serving the membership needed to be swept up and tidied. The original targeted move date was December 21st, with the goal of having the old building clear and empty before the holy nights, leaving a scant few weeks that began to make a steady cleanup operation seem more akin to a herculean task. We’ll post more stories about what it takes to move 36,000 books, journals, and archival papers from their home of 30 years; but for the present, on the excitement of the last couple of weeks.
The library moved from its home on Fern Hill in Ghent, NY just four miles down the road to 139 Main Street in the heart of Philmont, NY. Here is a map of the two locations, and the route that the moving trucks took. (Note that Google mistakenly thinks the address is 147 Main Street.)
139 Main Street is a 112-year-old brick church originally built in 1902 for the Catholic Reformed congregation in Philmont. A history of the building tells the background of the building and a little of the story of the congregation. About ten years ago the congregation dispersed and the building remained vacant for some years until it was purchased by the current owner in 2007, who began renovations with the intent of converting it to use as a part of the village’s economic or cultural life. When we discovered the property, the altar and pews had been removed, the roof repaired, and mechanicals updated, and a final phase of renovation was beginning on the floors, kitchen, and bath. The building has the feel of being stout and indomitable, with massive solid brick walls and a foundation made of local field stone. The floor is an southern heart pine with a solid plank subfloor and girders ten inches on center–just right for supporting two thousand linear feet of steel shelving and the weight of 36,000 books and journals.
Our mover was Arnoff Moving + Rigging, a professional mover based out of Albany, NY, that specializes in moving library, archival, and special collections. A crew of four arrived Tuesday, January 7th, and worked through Thursday to build 112 units of steel book shelving and 8 units of box storage in seven rows across the church. Seth worked with the movers for three days to build the shelving that soon would receive the steady stream of books to roll in from the Carriage House on Saturday. That story will fill our next post.